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good morni good morning. and welcome to "this week." economic turnaround. >> this market was falling apart. now, we're starting to build. >> we believe we're starting to see an end to the recession. >> but is the recovery real? >> it's better, but we still face enormous challenges. >> what are the dangers ahead? >> we've got these huge, unbelievable deficits. questions this morning for our
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exclusive headliners. treasury secretary tim geithner. former fed chair alan greenspan. geithner and greenspan only on "this week." then -- >> i have to say i'm fascinated with the fascination about this evening. >> that white house fearsome. did the conversation end the controversy? that and the rest of the politics on our "roundtable." bloomberg's al hunt. conservative columnist michelle malkin. cynthia tucker of the "atlanta journal-constitution." and gerry sieb. >> and as always, "the sunday funnies." >> you know, a meeting got off to a rough start when a neighbor called the police and said gates was breaking into the white called the police and said gates was breaking into the white house. captions paid for by abc, inc. hello again.
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the president's poll numbers may be wilti bngit a in e summermm atbu , cht ea day this weonomec chutes he's beenntouing on. monday, new home sales jumpeoud the biggntesy t mohlincreasehl esy, tuesday, home first increase rerst increase in three yearfis. updnesday, s ufinacanngturi up in manufacturing activity. thursday, new jobless cl ll to their lowest l vesince vejaary.reeast sigd idayfrthe c yet at that recession might be be easing. second-quarter growth falling much more slowly than expected as the stock market capped off its best month since 2002. with that, we bring in secretary tim geithner. a lot of good news out there this week. but the bad ne is that consumers are still real scared. even though their income went up, the spending went way down. what more can the administration if anything to encourage spending to go back up? >> george, you're right, there are signs the recession's easing. if you think of where we were
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last year, we were a economy of a free for all. the financial system on the verge of a collapse. and the actions this administration has taken very effective in stabilizing positions, bringing down the cost of credit. >> you created a bottom? >> i think we have a ways to go. unemployment is very high in this country. we need to make americans more confident about their future. >> how do you do that, though? >> i think you need to do it through just by making sure people understand we are going to do what's necessary to bring growth back on track. we're going to stick with this until americans are more confident in their future. businesses have access to credit. families are able to put their kids through college. that's the ultimate test. and policies put in place working with congress were designed to provide very substantial support to make sure we get through this. >> you mentioned the big problem of unemployment. and we're still nowhere near the kind of growth it would take to create jobs, more than 2 1/2% growth to start to create jobs. i know the administration has
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thought that's not going to come until next year. some private economists say it could happen in the second or third quarter of this year. they look at these numbers and say that. do you have any reasoning to believe they're right? >> you're going to see positive growth in the second half of this year and expect that to continue. >> above that 2 1/2% level? >> not clear yet. but you need growth before you get business to start creating jobs again. and that's where we're going to be very focused on doing. >> so, should americans expect that more jobs are going to start getting created this year or not? >> i think you're going to see, first, is growth turn positive. and then you're going to see the pace of job losses slow, maturely -- they've slowed significantly, as you said. they're going to slow maturely further. again, most private forecasters, let's use their judgment, suggest you're going to see unemplment start to come down maybe the beginning of second half of next year. >> and what about the flip side? what are the chances that we're actually going to see a second
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dip later this year? >> i think that's something we're very focused on. again, we need recovery to be built on private demand and spending. businesses taking a chance in the american economy. putting investments to work. starting to rebuild their employment base. that's the ultimate test for recovery. and the very important thing for us is to make sure we're sticking with this until we're very confident we have that strong private sector recovery in place. >> and what are you looking at that would give you some cause of concern that we could slip back? >> well, i don't think you can see that risk now again. and the stimulus program, and what we've done in the financial sector are designed to have a sustained impact. again, because the damage we had done to our economy, it was so great. it was just going to take a long sustained effort. >> and that means, unemployment, as you said, pretty high at least through the rest of this year. at the same time, we're seeing reports that up to 1.5 million people could be losing their unemployment benefits by the end
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of this year. does that mean that the administration is going to have to look at extending unemployment benefits again? >> i think that's something at that administration is going to look very closely at before we get to the end of this year. >> we already know that 1.5 million are going to lice their benefits, don't we? >> again, the most important thing people should understand, working with the congress, make sure we do enough to bring the economy back. our job is not just to repair the damage done to the economy to bring growth back. we need to make sure we're making the kind of investments that are going to build a more productive economy. that's why it's so important as we focus on recovery, making improvements in health care and fixing the financial system. the kind of things we're working on right now. >> i do want to get to that. as we pull out of recession, the big word going forward is "deficits." we heard that from the chinese this week, and our next guest, alan greenspan has warned this as well.
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senator grassley, the chairman of the cbo, the congressional budget office, estimates that your budget will add $9 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. >> our debt as a percentage of the economy will grow in excess of 80%, a level that also has not been seen since this country was in world war ii. >> that is a very, very high level. i know you believe that passing health care is essenal to getting the deficit under control. but independent analysts also say even with that, you're going to have to find new government revenues. the former deputy treasury secretary roger altman said it's no longer of whether tax revenues must increase, but how. is he right? >> george, it's absolutely right. very important for everyone to understand that we will not get this economy back on track, recovery will not be strong and sustained unless we can convince the american people that we're going to have the will to bring the deficits down once recovery is firmly established. remember, we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit.
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the cumulative consequences left us with $6 trillion more debt than we would have had, by making a bunch of commitments to cut taxes to add to spending without paying for those. we are not going to be able to afford to pay for that. it is very important that people understand that. our first priority now is to get this country back on track, making sure the financial system is repaired. without that, we're not going to get our deficits under control. and the necessary path to fiscal responsibility, the necessary path of getting this country living within our means again is not just health care reform to bring in this cause but we're going to do a range of other things. and that's going to be a different challenge. we can do this. it requires the will to act. >> including revenues? >> well, we have to do what's necessary. remember, the critical thing, so people understand, when we are recovery established led by the private sector, then we have to bring the deficits down very dramatically. we have to bring them down to a level where the amount we're borrowing from the world is stable at a reasonable level.
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and that's going to require some very hard choices. and we're going to have to try to do that in a way that does not add unfairly to the burdens that the average arican faces. >> but that's the dilemma. >> it is. >> when you look at health care again, i know you believe it's going to bend the cost curve over time. but the congressional budget office says at best, it's go be to be deficit neutral over the next ten years. so to bring the deficits down, there's not enough money in the discretionary budget. we all know that. that means more revenues. the president has said that taxes won't go up for any americans earning under $250,000. but it doesn't appear he's able to keep that promise if you're going to bring the deficits down. >> george, again, we can't make these judgments yet about exactly what it's going to take and how we're going to get there. but the very important thing, and no one is going to care more about this than the president of the united states. for people to understand we now as a choice as a country, that if we want a economy that's going to grow in the future, people have to understand that
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we have to bring those deficits down. it's going to be difficult and hard for to us do. and the path to that is through health care reform. that's necessary but not sufficient. other things too. >> so revenues are on the table as well? >> again, we're not at the point where we're going to make the judgment we know what it's going to take -- >> but you can't rule it out? >> i think we're going to do what's necessary. >> let me ask you about health care. the negotiations seemed to stall out in the senate. they're going to try to come back by september 15th. the house committees have all passed the bill. one of the things that the senator grassley you just saw is asking about, he wants assurances, guarantees, really, if they strike a deal. a bipartisan deal in the senate finance committee, it's got to hold all the way through the process. the senate floor. the house floor, the conference committee. can the administration give that assurance? >> i think that's what every legislator wants. >> you're not going to get it, though? >> we want an outcome that meets
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the core principles. we want to make sure we do something that's going to reduce the growth of costs over the long term. expand process. improve the quality of care. do that in a fiscally responsible way that does not increase unduly the burden on average americans today. that's the basic test. and we're going to try to make sure that we achieve that with the broadest consensus as possible. >> you want a broad consensus, but senator grassley, his colleague senator ensign is saying, they need those assurances. you can't get them? >> we need to make sure we look at anything reasonable consistent with those principles to get this done. >> you want it to be through consensus. the president said he wants a bipartisan bill if possible. but do you believe it's possible, if necessary, to get meaningful health care reform with democrats only? >> george, i think that, again, this is a big consequential reform for the country. as many people, ideally, you want to do this with as broad a base of consensus as possible. but people want to make that
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choice. do they want to help shape this and be part of it? or do they want this country, the united states of america, to go another several decades without doing what every other serious country has done, which is to give their citizens access to basic quality care. >> but if the republicans can't come to an agreement with the democrats, are the democrats and the white house willing to go it alone? >> george, again, we're going to try to get this done on the best possible terms, consistent with the principles. can't tell you what it's going to take. you see what the president is trying 0 to do that. >> let me ask you about t.a.r.p. >> the t.a.r.p. inspector general neil barofsky has said taxpayers can be on the hook for up to $23 trillion on it. i know you dispute that figure. but what you can tell us about where the t.a.r.p. stands right now?
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and how much of the $700 billion that has been appropriated, taxpayers can expect to get back >> let me just emphasize what's important to mr. barofsky and to the other members of the panel and the president and the other secretaries. we want to make sure we have the highest level on these programs. and we're doing everything we need to to make sure they're delivering the benefits they need, with as little risk to fraud as possible. and he has made a enough of reforms we've adopted. very helpful in shaping his programs, and we're committed to do everything necessary to achieve that. now, the program itself, we're in a much better position than i thought we would be, frankly, if you just look back four months ago, three months ago or six months ago. the financial system today is more stable. the cost of credit, credit is more available. the cost of credit is down significantly. broad concern about collapse in the financial system has receded dramatically. and that is very, very important to the process. >> we're not going to see a collapse, are we? >> no, not at all. it's aolutely preventible. there's much more confidence today than i think we've seen
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even in a year in the basic stability of the u.s. financial system. that is a very, very important accomplishment. we had done that, when i was here four months ago, we had roughly $40 billion left in the t.a.r. today, we have roughly 130. partly because we've been successful in having private capital come back into the financial system. and we've had more than $70 billion come back into the government. and that money goes directly to reduce our debt. >> how much more do you expect to be paid back? >> can't tell but substantial sums will come back. and we've already earned about $6 billion from the taxpayer on those invements. and this program is delivering very important improvements in the availability of credit. which is the ultimate test. >> so it's going in the right direction, it's going up. you can say now with certainty that you do not have to come back to congress for more money? >> we do not plan to ask for more money, but i think it's quite unlikely that we do. it's important that people need to understand that we will do what is necessary to make sure that viable businesses,
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families that have been conservative and prudent, have access to credit. that's the basic premise of it this program and we're going to do what's necessary to achieve that. >> the banks, a lot are trying to get out from the t.a.r.p. restriction because they want to get out of the compensation restrictions. the house passed a bill on friday to give shareholders more right to vote on executive competition and the s.e.c., more power. republicans in the house were very critical. take a look. >> this bill continues the democrat majority's tendency to go to the default solution for every problem, create a government bureaucracy to make decisions better left to private citizens. >> is the government getting too involved? >> absolutely not. i think everybody understands that we cannot have our financial system go back to practices that brought this economy to the brink of collapse. >> do you think that's happening? >> no, i don't think we're at that point yet. but it is going to take fundamental reform of our system. compensation reforms are an important part of that but we need to go beyond that.
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that's why the president has moved so early in this administration to provide much stronger protection for consumers and deliver a more stable financial -- and give us better tools to manage future crises. and the broader fundamental reforms are absolutely important. one of the president's top legislative priorities this year, and i think ultimately, you're going to find very broad support for these reforms. >> thank you. for other perspective, bring in former fed chairman alan greenspan. when he visited us last september, his view could not have been more sobering. >> this is a once in a half century, probably once in a century type of event. >> is it the worst you've ever seen in your career? >> oh, by far. there's no question that this is in the process of outstripping anything i've seen. and it still is not resolved and still has a way to go. >> alan greenspan joins us now. welcome back. last september, once in a century event, the worst you've ever seen. is it over? >> not quite, but we're getting very close.
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the -- as the treasury secretary just mentioned, there's been a very significant improvement in the financial system. and it's been the financial system where the problems have been. >> and collapse isn't going happen? >> collapse, i think, is now off the table. we were teetering for a while. but i do think that the t.a.r.p. program, for example, was very helpful in shoring up the capital stock of banks and the like. and not an insignificant event is the $3.5 trillion increase in the stock market value of the american corporations. because those are capital gains and they flow out throughout the system, and you can see their impact in the credit markets and in the equity markets. >> how about the broader economy? have we hit a bottom? and are we going to see a balanc >> well, i'm pretty sure we've already seen the bottom.
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in fact, if you look at the weekly production figures of various different industries, it's clear that we've turned, perhaps, in the middle of last month. the middle of july. and indeed, you're seeing a major increase in the assembles in auto and trucks, before the clunker issue even arose. >> has it helped? >> well, obviously, it's helped. it's an interesting issue. i have qualms about the concept. but there is no doubt that very extraordinary response that we saw is a very important indicator that the state of confidence in the economy is beginning to pick up. if we had be -- if the clunker program had been put in place six months ago, it would probably have been a dud. >> well, that's interesting because we also saw about five months ago, the administration putting out a credit for the first-time home buyers. has that made a difference? >> i think it has. but the problems in home building and home sales and really home prices, is much more
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than that. in fact, the way i would define it, is that unless home prices stabilize within, say, maybe 5% down from here, i think we're going to run into some -- >> it's shown that they probably have stabilized, right? >> they have stabilized temporarily. the problem with home prices, they're very difficult to measure in regional data. i don't think it's going to happen. it is possible that we could get a second wave done. but an important issue is, if we don't, and i think that we don't -- i think the probability is thawe won't. we're close to stabilization, under those conditions, you will begin to get a very significant change in the underlying confidence in the consumer. >> and then u might see that in the consumer area, you might see it in the stock markets. so that is the trigger, possibly.
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you say it's unlikely, but that could be the trigger to a second dip? >> if you get another dip, a renewed decline in prices, we're going to run into an acceleration of a number of homes that are mortgaged and under water. that is, that the value of that properties are less than the debt. if that happens, and clearly, looking at the structure where debt and values are, it would, if, for example, home prices fell by 10% or more that would create a major acceleration in foreclosures. and i think it could be a factor. >> on the other side, what's your best estimate right now of when we're going to see that kind of economic growth that can create jobs, above 2.5%, 3%, 3.5%? >> first, let me say this, the unemployment rated is going to continue to rise, but more slowly than it's been. we'll continue to have job loss.
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but that's slowly as well. it strikes me, that we very -- we may very well have 2.5% in the current quarter. and the reason is, that there's been such an extraordinarily high rate of inventory liquidation that the production levels are well under consumption. and as that slows down, as it has to, i mean, you can't go below zero on inventories, production moves up. and that could be quite significant. so, i wouldn't put -- out of the question -- >> so you're fairly optimistic right now? >> i'm short-term optimistic, but with many caveats. the home price issue would be a critical one. and then as you recorded on earlier, the deficit. >> that's what i want to press you. you watched secretary geithner there. he said the administration takes it seriously.
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they're going to do what i takes. two questions on that. do you believe that this health care reform that is now being debated is part of the solution to deficits? and number two, must new revenues be on the table? >> i would say yes to both. that there is no question that the core of the problem, on the long-term deficit is medicare. specifically and health care more generally, in the sense that iaffects revenues. this is an issue which, remember, existed at the beginning of the year. in fact, medicare at that point was only half funded. and you can't get around the fact, you have this big shift in the baby boomers retiring that things fundamentally changed. and my view is that we have to attack both the original shortfall and make sure we fund whatever new initiatives occur in the health care area. it's not adequate to be strictly revenue neutral, because there's a lot more to be done to get this. >> so the plans on the table don't go far enough in your view
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? >> that's my view. in fact, i thought the secretary's remarks were frankly quite well balanced and i think that is the strategy of the administration. but what he didn't spell out, which he can't, actually, at this particular stage, is a very significant additional action is going to be required to make certain that the deficit does not get -- >> that means control of medicare, control of medicaid, control of social security. also some broad-based revenues. roger altman, who i quoted, the former treasury secretary, said the real answer is we have have to do with valuated sales tax. >> i don't like the valuated sales tax. the least worst solution to the
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problem will be end up being valuated. >> you said you're copsly optimistic a couple minutes ago. one of your predecessors said. 1950, 1970, said the fed chairman's job is to take away the punchbowl just when the party's getting started. are we anywhere close to that point where that's going to have to be considered? >> no. but, remember, there's an awful lot of liquidity, latent liquidity in t system. at some point, that's going to have to be sopped up. what that mean, higher reserves. that's not immediate. as this economy picks up, assuming that it does, as i said, there's an outside possibility it may be faster than we expect, and then the federal reserve is going to have to rein in credit and raise rates. they know how to do it very well.
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>> fed chairman sa we have a couple years. is that about right? >> i hope they have a couple years. i don't think they do. >> mr. chairman, thanks very much for your time today. "the roundtable" is next with al hunt, hunt, michelle malkin, cynthia tucker and gerry sieb. nie sy. in the world. can you hear them? food is talking to store shelves. cargo containers are talking to supply chains. power lines are talking to the grid. now that's smart. systems that allow carrots to tell truck drivers how fresh they are. roads alert cars about traffic patterns. cars alert mechanics before they break down. when things communicate... systems connect. when systems connect... the world gets smarter. that's what i'm working on. i'm an ibmer. let's build a smarter planet. most people try to get rid of algae, and we're trgrngn o tow it. the algae are very beautiful. they come in blue or red, golden, green. algae could be converted into biofuels...
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we will be right back with "the roundtable" and "the sunday funnies."
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soaring through nature's finest show. >> the great ones soaring under the midnight sun. >> and the extremes, in the wintertime -- >> it's the frozen road that is
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competing with all of its fog frigid beauty. >> the cold, though, doesn't it split the cheechakos from the sourdoughs -- >> the cheechakos and the sour dough. >> a little one from william shatner. >> what's the difference, between chi cheechako and sourdough, anybody know? >> he lives in colorado. >> i just want to know that chacaccos are newcomers. we bring in the author of "culture of corruption." >> and cynthia tucker of the atlanta constitution. let's begin with the economy. and now, i was fascinated listening to alan greenspan just
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a second ago. somewhat bullish alan greenspan. and it does come at the end of a week when we see economic news. >> that's not the alan greenspan that we know. i think that's an optimistic portrait. you know, he was talking short term. i think the feeling is we've had the worst economy in the last year and a half since the great depression. it's going to bounce back. there there are lagging indicators but we will have a pretty good second half. but when you talk to smart investors, longer term there's a great fear that we're going to have what they call a new normal. that is, what is the underlying force to really propelle a robust 3%, 4%, 5%? >> and what we saw is consumers pocketing that. and it took this cash for clunkers, michelle, to gift people into buying cars. i was surprised that chairman greenspan seemed to have an endorsement of that, too. >> i was shocked, too. my jaw was on the floor. it was interesting listening to both tim geithner and alan
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greenspan. because i think outside of the beltway and outside of manhattan, there's a deep discount on what the wall street wise men are saying. both of those men, and the click of smart economists that they surround themselves with and they have been a part of were wrong about predicting what was going to happen in the first place. and i have a little chapter in the book about the wall street moneymen. and i think there's an optics problem as well. because i think when we hear about things like reintroducing or extending unemployment benefits, and also, on the mortgage program, we have proposals to, you know, pour billions of dollars more into reworking home loans. i think what people see is more of the same. that what we're going to get is a reinflation of the bubble which was the problem in the first place. >> although, as alan greenspan says, inflation, yes, it could be a problem going forward and that he hopes we have those years that bernanke was talking about. >> i think most are thinking there are a couple years that we don't have to worry about
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inflation. in europe, they're worried about demrags. that's where we are in the cycle. i think the two things that the administration is still worried about the doubleip recession. >> he didn't take that completely off the table. >> he did not. and i think for a reason. there's a considerable amount of concern if you don't get the housing market back and you have a wave of unemployment-driven foreclosures, you could still have debt. >> and these are not working as well as the administration wanted? >> not as they hoped, that's correct. secondly, even under the good enario we're talking about, unemployment is still fairly high all the way through november 2010, the next >> and that is the real fear for this white house? >> absolutely. what people are concerned about on main street is those unemployment numbers. unemployment benefits are running out and that's another concern for average homeowners. you know, this was a week of macroeconomic good news. but that good news doesn't translate into jobs for the people who have en out there seeking them. but there really isn't much that
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the president or congress can do immediately. what they're depending on is the stimulus money will be working its way through the economy, through next year. and that will start to spur job creation in 2010. >> that's right. that's one of the things we saw in that growth report that came out onriday. is that private economists saying, in that case, the stimulus actually did make something of a difference. maybe up to a 3% difference in the growth. >> yeah, you hear that, george, from state and local officials, too. i think that's important. but i think really the nub of this thing working or this economy taking off at some point really is the consumer. and if the consumer gets confident -- there is no tech boom to propel it. there's not going to be a housing boom. it has to be driven by the consumer, more than business investment, i think. and you said earlier, i think, that the consumers still are pretty skiddish. until that confidence comes back
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or unless that confidence comes back -- >> and what point will they come back without the incentive of $4,500 in front of them. >> exactly. if you put enough government cleese in front of people, they're just going to keep eating it. and you're just kicking the can down the road. and just to hammer this point again, it was larry katz, under the clinton labor department who came through with a study. and there are a lot of these smart economists who say this, if you keep extending these temporary unemployment benefits, you're just going to extend joblessness even more. >> i don't know if i follow that. choosing to take the unemployment benefits when a job is available? >> 79 weeks already. and then they're going to o extd it by another 13 weeks. and what happens, according to these economists who have seen it, including this clinton economists, who say people will just delay getting a job until
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the three weeks before the benefits run out. >> well, that might be true when there are jobs out there available. but there are very few jobs available at the moment. so i don't think people are just using that unemployment to be lazy instead of going out there searching for a job. >> i'm not making a moral judgment. it's an incentive problem. >> but when businesses advertise, the few job openings they have, they'll advertise 20 openings. they have 6,000 applicants. so i don't think that's the problem at the moment. >> starbucks says we're hiring somebody, you'll see the lines are around the block. anecdotally, george, i have a kid whose friends have just graduated from college and many of them don't have boys. boy, they are looking, though. >> and all of the states, especially the midwest, ohio, michigan, indiana, especially hard hit. >> yeah. i think there's an odd twist to this. we're starting to worry about something that we weren't ever discussing five years ago, even the americans who do have jobs are saving too much money now. you referred to that. >> 5%. >> 5% and more. and that may not change.
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so you may not get the consumer-driven recovery as quickly as some people thought if you go on past models because the consumer was saving money. which we would have all sat here five years ago and said it was a great thing for americ now people are saying, is that a great thing. >> health care, the house ended the week. passing the bill. each house committee has passed a bill right now. but it was pretty clear at the end of the week, the senate, bipartisan negotiations off at least until september 15th. maybe even beyond. it's setting up a battle royale across the country in august, as the members of congress go home and listen to their constituents about health care. you're seeing both sides start to maneuver. al, you talked to the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, this week. and it's pretty clear to her is her strategy is to be making villains out of the health insurance industry? >> you don't expect health insurance to be villain? >> i don't like using words like villains. people call me a villain all the time so i figure it's okay to
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use it back. they have been the ones who have held -- the american people have been at their mercy. >> meanwhile, the american health insurance plans have put out a press release this morning saying they're going to fight back. they're sending people to every town meeting in every congressional district this month. what is the impact of this? how do you think this is going to end up shaping the debate? >> oh, george, i think this is going to be a fascinating mont i wish i knew what the exact impact was going to be. i think nancy pelosi and the white house to a lesser degree realize people don't like health insurance -- what was that helen hunted movie "as good as it gets" or something, where every mothergoer around the country cheered when they knocked the health insurance. whether that is going to persuade people at that alternative is better i think is a tough sale. the polls show that support for obama care, no one knows what that is since he doesn't have a plan, support for the obama notion of care has drop. so what they have to do now is persuade people that the current system is so bad that whatever we're doing is going to be better.
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>> that's part of it. in addition to what we saw the speaker do, gerry seib, the white house seems to be recalculating their strategy going forward. it's not so much about the economy. focusing on the insurance reforms. not losing insurance if you lose your job. no preexisting conditions. what's in it for me is the question. >> right. there's a reason forhat. a poll on nbc news showed this very clearly, what has happened, the pitch is not getting to people who already have health insurance. they are people falling further and further off the bandwagon. what the administration is doing is going to those people and saying, look, they're insurance reforms, not health reforms, insurance reforms that are going to make your health insurance better, cheaper and easier to keep as you go through life's cycles. so that's a message that they've got to get through to the people, not the people who are uninsured, but the people who
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are insured already. >> what's your strategy this month? >> it's going to be a monumental month on the ground. we've seen this percolating since february. and i've been covering the tea party movement. these counterinsurgencies among taxpayer rights groups. and i think that this administration of democrats have vastly underestimated just how grassroots this movement is. and i think it's been -- i think it's been comforting to think that it comes from the top -- >> organized around what? what is the issue? >> around larger government, reckless spending. and not only the redistribution of wealth, but now the redistribution of health. and i think that the white house has failed to counter its basic notion that people's health care rights or entitlement are going to be redistributed by social engineers. and we've seen these town halls gone wild, that's the phrase now. i think as the lawmakers go back, they're going to face the heat. these youtube videos are viral.
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and to me, it's actually very reminiscent of hillary care 15 years ago today. you probably remember this, when hillary went to seattle to sell the health care plan, it was really a turning point when she was booed directly. and i lived and reported in seattle for three years. that was an extraordinary event and we're going to see a replay of that. >> now, there's some truth of what michelle is saying. we are seeing opposition building up. overall, the idea of health care reform still is positive. the president's poll numbers dropping a little bit. but people are getting more concerned about will this mean that my individual costs are going to go up? will it mean that i'm going to lose some of my choice in health care? >> well, i think 2009 is very different from 1993. the conditions on the ground are very different. people are much more concerned now about the problems with health insurance, in particular. it is true that the president lost control of the debate. he allowed the opposition to scare people.
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he allowed the opposition to persuade people who currently have a plan that they're satisfied with that it was going to change, that they were going to lose something. but it's also true that in 20 or 30 years of government bashing, people have come to believe government can't do anything right. and that's part of what the president has to fight also. so much so, that the people are very happy with medicare. those who are recipients. but they don't believe it's a government program. >> this is so odd, yeah. >> such that a republican congressman reported last week that he was at a town hall meeting and somebody stood up up and said don't put your government hands on my medicare. he tried to persuade them it was a government program and a single-payer program, by the way. the man just didn't believe it. government has such a bad reputation that people simply don't believe it, even medicare which they're happy with the government program. >> lastly, the other point is when you talk about the
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comparisons in 1994. i'll tell you a fascinating comparison, when the clinton health care proposal was defeated, america was spending $912 billion on health care. today, america's spending $2.5 trillion. we have seen an explosion of health care costs under this current system. and one can debate all the various proposals and changes. the current system is so broken. >> that's why at the beginning of this process, you saw a lot of the stakeholders in health care debate, the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, the american medical association saying they were going to be a part of this reform process. do you get the sense that's going to hold? >> insureds are peeling off. i think most of them are holding. >> you know better than us, that's a significant difference from '93 and '94. that was not the case in '94, if we were going through this august in those years, you would have had a different situation entirely. the other thing that's different, i think, there are
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big segments in the health care industry, not the business community, that are still in this game. >> walmart. >> walmart, exactly. >> not small business? >> no, not small business. i think that's true. small business is the problem for the clinton administration. another constituency that they need to get to in august and convinced there's something good for them here. >> let me make another point about the optics, though, i think in mainstream america what you see is a dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency in this administration. you take something as simple as this health care czar. nancy diparlo, i pointed out that she has vast ties to the health care industry. she's made upwards of $6 million in the last couple of years consulting and doing board of directors work. what the american people see, the secretive meetings with health care executives, only under threat of a left-wing progressive group here in d.c., the watchdog group crew, did they tell us who thewere
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meeting with. yet, we still don't know, greg craig won't tell us which officials we're meeting. and if the people havehe sense of lack of trust to people making the decisions, it's a huge cloud on the administration. >> there's still this overall trust in president obama -- >> but it's eroding and you see that in the polls. >> but what you see is eroding. his job approval. not his personal approval. a series of polls coming this week, showing the president dropping an average of five or six points over the last month, in a series of major polls. and, gerry seib, let me bring you in on this because the nbc and "wall street journal" poll was one of them. the concern it shows, number one, people are more concerned about e deficit. number two, there seems to be this general sort of anxiety, this is all going too fast, too much, too fast? >> which manifests itself in the a lot of obvious and overconcern about the deficit. that's become sort of a metaphor.
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your point is right, job approval, 53% in our poll. approval on health care, 41%. big gap. but the personal popularity is still there. 55% positive feelings about the president in our poll. compare that to nancy pelosi, 25%. >> he's still the most popular politician on the scene, even though his numbers are coming down. >> right. clearly, the most popular politician the democrats have, and clearly, the best tool that thdemocrats have to sell their own policies. you have good feelings, doubts about performance. >> you know what else, i think it was shown more in the pew poll, than in your poll, the president did take a hit on this whole issue of professor gates and sergeant croley stepping into that. came in on thursday. following the drum beat, as he invited them for a beer at the white house thursday. they met in the rose garden. vice president biden joined them. in the end, only sergeant crowley came out and spoke. >> i think what you had today, two gentlemen agree to disagree
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on a particular issue. i don't think that we spent too much time dwelling on the past. we spent a lot of time discussing the future. >> and i think in the future, cynthia tuck, the president probably had to do what he did once he called for it last friday put but now he wants this behind him? >> he absolutely does. i think the president's mistake was speaking to this issue because it's so distracted from the major issue of health care. i happen to agree with what the president said. i think sergeant crowley did act stupidly because i still don't know what gates' crime was. but the president had no business speaking to it when it was going to cause such a major distraction. he has spent most of the hour discussing health care, yet, the news reports the next day were all about the answer to that one question. it got health care off the agenda at a time when he needed to be focused on that subject. so i think he wants to get gates behind him so he can get back to -- >> not engaged in the national conversation, not really turn
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this into a teachable moment from the white house? >> well, i don't -- i'm skeptical about teachable moments, period. that is the term of art of the moment, let's use this for a teachable moment. if we're going to use it for a teachable moment, i would ask again, what was the crime? that we have a first amendment in this country that says citizens get to be rude to the police. was gates rude? probably. was he obnoxious? probably. but i have been disappointed that conservatives who talk about freedom so much haven't rallied to gates' defense, to say, why was he arrested for being obnoxious? >> look. you're supposed to respect the police and he clearly hindered and obstructed what the police were trying to do. just to get back to a teachable moment. i think a real teachable moment about race would have been if president obama had sat down with a black police officer who apparently wrote an open letter to president obama talking about
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his own experience. and how what president obama said exacerbated racial tension. this black police officer, for standing by his colleague, has now been called an uncle tom. >> one on the scene? >> that's right, the one on the scene during the arrest. and it's the sense that people who are minorities who oppose the president are somehow traitors to their race, that really is the insidious racial issue here. and then, of course, you have that poor woman who called 911 also being a victim of really unfair smears of racism. that would have been a better summit. >> i'm not going to see another one, al? >> i know. i age with cynthia, i think it was a mistake to weigh into it. i think -- look, if a harvard professor can come away with a little better appreciation of what cops go through. and if a police officer can come away thinking a little bit more about the dangers of racial profiling, that's nice.
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>> and continues with community forums. >> but this great teachable moment, no. >> but there was no racial profiling. that's the point. >> well, we don't know. i don't know the facts. >> i don't know whether this opened up any new racial rifts or showed that they're still there. pretty much the same as they've always been. to back to the poll, george, if you look at the question we asked, who's more at fault, the professor or the cop. the people who thought that the professor were at fault tended to be older people, not younger people. tend to be people in the south, more republicans thaden moats. a lot of divhaid test you'yofind ten years ago. >> i want you all to respond to that in the green room. that's ail we have time for here right now. we're going to come back with "the sunday funnies." two are downloading the final final revised final esentation. - one just got an e-mail. - what?! - huh? - it's being revised again. the co-pilot on mapquest. - ( rock music playing ) - and tom is streaming meeting psych-up music
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now, in memoriam.
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>> i can express readiness for our constitution. success from rags to riches is really the american gospel. it's the american dream. >> this week, the pentagon released the names of ten service members killed in iraq and afghanistan. we'll we'll be right back.
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white house happy hour tops "the sunday funnies." >> president obama, of course, everyone knows has invited harvard professor henry louis gates and the police officer who arrested him to the white house for a beer. of course, this could be trouble because the last time obama got a few beers in him, he bought general motors.
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>> big mistake. a president should never get involved in a local city-specific issue. president bush never did, no matter how flooded a city got. >> nobody is talking about some government takeover of health care. just telling your mom, nobody's messing with her doctor. >> you know a sales pitch is in trouble when it starts with, look, you've got to trust me, we're not going to kill your grandparents! >> i don't want to say that the president can't hold his liquor. but look what happened at this press conference this morning. >> do you think your taking a harder line with wall street? >> we'll be right back. t smarte. new york has smart crime fighting. paris has smart healthcare. smart traffic systems in brisbane keep traffic moving. galway has smart water. smart meters in dallas, houston... and a smart grid in copenhagen keep energy flowing. smart ideas are happening... all over the world.
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because when it comes to medicare, we should all be on a roll. call now for your free information kit... ♪ that's our show for today. thanks for sharing part your sunday with us. thanks for sharing part your sunday with us. we'll see you next time. captions by vitac

This Week With George Stephanopoulos
ABC August 2, 2009 10:00am-11:00am EDT

News/Business. Political guests and viewpoints. New. (HD) (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Alan Greenspan 9, Us 8, Obama 3, America 3, Cynthia Tucker 3, Nancy Pelosi 3, Tim Geithner 3, Grassley 3, Seattle 2, Paris 2, Atlanta 2, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney 2, Dallas 2, Copenhagen 2, Greenspan 2, Crowley 2, Gerry Seib 2, Roger Altman 2, Michelle 2, Michelle Malkin 2
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